It's increasingly important for logistics service providers like freight brokers and carriers to provide live shipment visibility to their clients. Whereas 10 years ago this was a niche feature, shippers today see this as absolutely crucial to the health and profitability of their projects.
Of course, the primary benefit for real-time shipment visibility is reducing delivery risk for shippers. Sound like an afterthought? Just put yourself in your customers' shoes.
Imagine managing a multi-million dollar project with thousands of moving parts, each managed by a different person or contracted out to a different logistics service provider. Now, imagine the receiving bay of that same project. One truck shows up early or late without advance notice, and now entire days worth of planning goes out the door. There's a massive panic to reschedule loading dock times, and a buildup of unprocessed deliveries starts forming. At this point, you've already lost thousands of dollars, and will probably lose more over the coming hours and days as you rectify the situation.
And all this because of unexpected delays, cancellations, and mistakes deep in the supply chain. Now, imagine this same situation, but with real-time shipment tracking and advance alerts. Now, as a shipper, you can pre-emptively prepare for delays, reduce scheduling conflicts, and ensure that your supply chain flows flawlessly. It's not about perfection, it's about maximizing the efficiency of existing systems.
This plays right into de-risking projects - think about all the check calls and emails you've received from shippers. People want to know where their stuff is! It's only human to want to be in the loop with every status update, delay, and progress update from the loading dock to the receiver.
It started out in the consumer world with parcel tracking, and it's quickly becoming an expected part of B2B truckload and less-than-truckload services as well. if you're not providing this level of service to your customers, it could very well negatively affect your ability to compete with companies that are.
Real-time tracking helps replace this, especially when it's integrated with a customer portal so clients can log in, track their shipments, see status updates, and download documentation without having to call their broker.
This isn't to say real-time tracking is just for your customers' benefit either! With the wealth of tracking data produced for real-time visibility solutions like FreightPath, detailed heat maps and visual lane history can be built to determine problematic, underperforming, or even highly profitable lanes.
After all, there's no better way to analyze a problem than with data visualization. Armed with this knowledge, you can recommend alternate routes for your drivers or carriers, find underperforming contracts, settle disputes before they happen, and intelligently negotiate new lane rates with the confidence that it'll benefit your operations.
For example, imagine if you found that 75% of your shipment volume moves on one specific lane. You could improve operational efficiency and reduce cost significantly by removing service from other lanes and re-routing resources to your primary routes.
What we've learned is that providing advanced shipment visibility isn't just important for developing a competitive advantage with shippers - it's absolutely becoming a necessary component of any complete 3PL or brokerage workflow. The difference between the freight brokers who succeed in the next decade and those who stagnate will be more than just in their hard work - it'll be in their adoption and investment into innovative game changing technologies.